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The Top Five Books

Christianity Today magazine has an interesting piece they run monthly that asks a specialist or someone versed in a particular field to list their top five books related to their expertise. Recently, they featured noted historian Mark Noll on his top five books for igniting a passion to read history. 

That got me thinking…
 
If I simply wanted to ignite a passion in someone for a subject – meaning, I wasn’t trying to impress academicians, intellectual sophisticates, or cultural hipsters – what would the top five be for various areas if all I wanted to do was turn them on, through reading, to that area?
 
Let’s add in the desire to ignite a passion for the pleasure and joy of reading. And just flat-out raw inspiration.
 
Okay, I’m off to the races.
 
I didn’t worry about being exhaustive or systematic with my categories – this was too much fun. Fastest blog writing ever.  So…here you go! (And yes, I gave myself permission to include a few of my own works).
 
Apologetics/Evangelism:
 
Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
A Search for the Spiritual by James Emery White
The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel
Becoming a Contagious Christian by Billy Hybels, Lee Strobel and      
      Mark Mittelberg
Out of the Saltshaker by Rebecca Manley Pippert
 
Biography:
 
The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom
Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
Genghis: Birth of an Empire by Conn Iggulden
Through Gates of Splendor by Elisabeth Elliot
Churchill: The Unruly Giant by Norman Rose
 
Young Children’s Books:
 
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by
     Judith Viorst and Ray Cruz
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss
Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel by Virginia Lee Burton
 
Older Children’s Books:
 
The “Little House” books (series) by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
The Chronicles of Narnia (series) by C.S. Lewis
Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
Harry Potter and the… (series) by J.K. Rowling
 
Christian Living:
 
Improving Your Serve by Charles Swindoll
Ordering Your Private World by Gordon MacDonald
What’s So Amazing About Grace by Philip Yancey
The Life You’ve Always Wanted by John Ortberg
The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning
 
Culture:
 
Serious Times by James Emery White
The Gravedigger File by Os Guinness
Culture Making by Andy Crouch
Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman
The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell
 
History:
 
How the Irish Saved Civilization by Thomas Cahill
A Distant Mirror by Barbara Tuchman
A World Lit Only by Fire by William Manchester
The Discoverers by Daniel J. Boorstin
The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara
 
Leadership:
 
From Good to Great by Jim Collins
Built to Last by Jim Collins
Developing the Leader Within You by John Maxwell
Courageous Leadership by Bill Hybels
In Search of Excellence by Tom Peters and Robert Waterman
 
Theology:
 
Knowing God by J.I. Packer
Basic Christianity by John R.W. Stott
A Little Exercise for Young Theologians by Helmut Thielicke
Who Needs Theology? by Stanley Grenz and Roger Olson
Wrestling with God by James Emery White
 
Bonus (but just three)
 
Mystery Novels:
 
Dissolution by C.J. Sansom
Death in Holy Orders by P.D. James
The Nine Tailors by Dorothy Sayers
(But read everything you can by all three of these authors)
 
Happy reading.
 
James Emery White

 

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